Monday, March 21, 2016

Farm Effect: How Dirt Makes Us Happy, Healthy

Dr. Christiane Northrup, M.D. (; Amber Larson, CC Liu, Wisdom Quarterly
The Farm Effect: How Dirt Makes Us Happy and Healthy by Christiane Northrup, M.D. #immune #system #kids
"Dirt is not just good for children.
We all need a little need dirt in our lives!"
— Dr. Christiane Northrup, M.D.
The Farm Effect: How Dirt Makes You Happy and Healthy: 7 Ways Dirt is a Powerful Immune System Booster
The soil feels good.
When was the last time you had dirt embedded under your fingernails or mud oozing between your toes? If it was recently then good for you!

Research over the last decade or so has shown that the microbes and bacteria in dirt can help boost the immune system and make us healthier and even happier.

Unfortunately, most people today have become "germaphobes," using germ-killing wipes, dangerous hand sanitizers, and even strong chemicals to clean their homes. But it turns out that dirt has an important immune-strengthening purpose.

How Dirt Strengthens Our Immune System
I love mud...but maybe I got carried away today.
A study published in The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology (June 2012) shows this surprising finding:

Amish children who live on farms have about a 50% reduction in asthma, allergies, and gut-related disorders compared to children who grow up in more sterile environments.

This is known as “The Farm-Effect.” What’s interesting to note is that seasonal hay fever was first described in the United States in the 1890s, and by 1920 it was quite common. However, hay fever was rarely diagnosed in the working-class population, particularly those living on farms.
The Farm Effect is the corollary -- or positive proof -- of the “Hygiene Hypothesis,” which states that a lack of early childhood exposure to infectious agents, microorganisms, and parasites increases our susceptibility to allergic diseases by suppressing the natural development of our immune systems.
  • (Hygiene Hypothesis is called “Biome Depletion Theory” and “Lost Friends Theory”).
Germs are good; good germs are called probiotics, healthy microorganisms (
"Germs," good and bad, come in many forms.
This makes perfect sense. As humans, we have co-evolved for millions of years with microbes and parasites, both around and within our bodies. [Most of our weight is not human cells but living bacterial and other cells, our bodies a community made up mostly of them.]
From the time a child is able to crawl, she intuitively knows to get dirty and to put dirty objects in her mouth -- it’s a natural way of allowing her immune system to explore her environment.

This routine exposure to harmless microorganisms in the environment, such as soil bacteria, trains her immune system to ignore benign molecules, such as pollen. (By the way, the Farm Effect works the same way for children who grow up with a dog or other pets in the house).
But dirt is not just good for children. We all need a little need dirt in our lives! In fact, doctors are now handing out “park prescriptions” for a range of conditions including heart disease, obesity, and ADD.
  • [Get out into nature! It does a world of good for many reasons and in many ways.]
Dirt Has Been Called the New Prozac
Soil microbes called Mycobacterium vaccae are proven to have a natural antidepressant effect on the brain.
Lack of serotonin [most of which is generated in the gut not the brain] has been linked to disorders such as depression, anxiety, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), bipolar disorder, and more. Studies show that Mycobacterium vaccae actually mirror the effect that drugs, such as Prozac, have on the brain without the side effects or chemical dependency. More

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